Music Reviews

cover
Artist: Anthony Baldino
Title: Twelve Twenty Two
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: MethLab Recordings
Anthony Baldino has been successfully plying his trade as a sound designer for film trailers, with a CV that includes plenty of Avengers-level blockbusters (and according to IMDB a bunch of producer credits too, though that may be crossed wires). He’s now turned his attention to a debut full-length instrumental electronica LP, in which he applies many of the modern, sharp, digital sonic techniques you’ll recognise, but also takes the opportunity to explore longer and more atmospheric scenes, not constraining the drama to the classic 2 minutes 30 trailer limit.

The glitchy granular synthesis in tracks like opener “Fading Quickly Now” or the second half of “Fractal” are extremely reminiscent of Brian Transeau’s soundtrack work, as it’s practically BT’s signature sound. “Artax”, with its brutally cut-up synth pad and rubbery bass tones, sets a gentler vibe, whereas pieces like “Quad Axial” invoke Aphex Twin-ish frantic and obtuse approaches to rhythm programming that result in skittish, playful, hard-to-pin-down grooves. It’s never especially light work, but “Drifting Further” with its quirky bleeps, running into more laidback final track “Beneath The Fall”, do offer a wrap-up that has a hint of brightness that offsets the bleakness to an extent.

The trailer influence is most noticeable on tracks like “Dust”, with its tension-inducing pulsing that feels tailor-made for some post-apocalyptic sci-fi, or “Fractal” with its dark, ominous icy deep cracking tones. At points it does feel a little like a showreel, pitching for soundtrack work- but that’s no bad thing, and as a showreel it’s certainly strong.

This is a release that oozes quality and confidence, from a clearly experienced sound designer. There are times where it feels like it lacks its own distinctive voice or character, and follows the rulebook of the dark glitchy electronic world too closely, but that doesn’t take away from the energy and polish that it’s been infused with. Over the space of 45 minutes it broods nicely and leaves you both gently chastised and impressed.



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